Nur­tur­ing cre­ativ­ity in young minds

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Education Guide -

A SCIENCE Chal­lenge pro­gramme was re­cently or­gan­ised by Univer­siti Kuala Lumpur, In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Science Tech­nol­ogy (UniKL MESTECH), which gath­ered many out­stand­ing sec­ondary schools to com­pete in var­i­ous sci­en­tific chal­lenges. Aimed to chal­lenge stu­dents in the ba­sic fun­da­men­tals of science and pro­mote in­ter­ac­tive and co­op­er­a­tive learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in science sub­jects, the pro­gramme was met with pos­i­tive re­sponse by the stu­dents, teach­ers and coun­cil­lors.

Spear­headed by UniKL lec­turer, Khairul Nizam Mohd Isa along with Mohd Rus­dan Yusuf, Nore­han Ma­zlan and stu­dent vol­un­teers, the pro­gramme was ini­tially de­vel­oped last year as part of a mar­ket­ing strat­egy to at­tract and pro­mote UniKL MESTECH to sec­ondary school stu­dents as their po­ten­tial univer­sity of choice. How­ever, it is now be­ing planned as an an­nual event, which stu­dents are look­ing for­ward to par­tic­i­pat­ing in.

Ac­cord­ing to Khairul Nizam, this sort of com­pe­ti­tion has long been im­ple­mented in overseas coun­tries such as the UK to ex­pose school­child­ren with ad­vanced sci­en­tific knowl­edge and skills at an early age.

Through par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sci­en­tific chal­lenges, it fos­ters a sense of en­thu­si­asm to learn science sub­jects and give a taste of ex­per­i­ments con­ducted in the ter­tiary level of science cour­ses.

The com­pe­ti­tion was di­vided into three cat­e­gories – science and IQ quiz, sci­en­tific lab­o­ra­tory prac­ti­cals and in­no­va­tive chal­lenge. In the lat­ter chal­lenge, the stu­dents were tasked to de­velop a Rube Gold­berg ma­chine, an ap­pa­ra­tus en­gi­neered to per­form a sim­ple task in a com­pli­cated chain re­ac­tion man­ner in 90 min­utes.

The chal­lenge, which re­quires a level of sci­en­tific skill and fresh cre­ative ideas saw the com­pet­ing teams build com­plex and fully func­tional in­tri­cate ma­chines.

Ac­cord­ing to UniKL MESTECH Re­search and In­no­va­tion head Dr Izud­din Fahmy Abu, the cre­ativ­ity dis­played by the stu­dents were out­stand­ing and made it dif­fi­cult for the judges to score the groups in the in­no­va­tion cat­e­gory.

“Cre­ativ­ity should be nur­tured at a very young age. In­tel­lec­tual abil­ity alone does not de­ter­mine that one will suc­ceed in the out­side world. One should be cre­ative and quick in mak­ing sound de­ci­sions. I can see that the stu­dents tak­ing part in Science Chal­lenge to­day pos­sess that qual­ity,” he said dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­mony.

For the past two years, only schools within Hulu Lan­gat, Wi­layah Perseku­tuan Kuala Lumpur and Serem­ban dis­tricts were in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in the chal­lenge. How­ever, Khairul Nizam said that UniKL MESTECH has al­ready planned to ex­pand the pro­gramme and in­vite more schools through­out the coun­try to get in­volved.

In this year’s Science Chal­lenge, Seko­lah Seri Pu­teri Cy­ber­jaya, who went home empty-handed in 2016 emerged as the big win­ner by clinch­ing the Cham­pion tro­phy and a cash prize worth RM800.

Com­ing in a close sec­ond was Seko­lah Me­nen­gah Ke­bangsaan Jalan Em­pat Ka­jang, win­ning RM400 and in third place was SMK King Ge­orge V, Serem­ban. Other schools par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gramme were SMK Ban­dar Tasik Se­la­tan, SM Sains Alam Shah, SMK Con­vent (M) Ka­jang, SM Sains Perem­puan Serem­ban, SMK Ka­jang Utama and SMK Jalan Reko

In a nut­shell, the pro­gramme gave the stu­dents op­por­tu­ni­ties to com­mu­ni­cate science in an en­gag­ing, con­cise and fun man­ner. It is hoped that in fu­ture edi­tions, more schools would be able to take part in the event and UniKL is com­mit­ted to­wards nur­tur­ing cre­ative young minds with ex­cel­lent team­work, prob­lem-solv­ing skills and an en­thu­si­asm for science.

■ For de­tails on UniKL MESTECH, log on to www.unikl.edu.my, call 03-8739 5894 / 019-206 9960 or visit the Info Day on July 16 (Sun­day) and 23 (Sun­day), Aug 6 (Sun­day), 13 (Sun­day) and 20 (Sun­day) for a cam­pus tour and free health screen­ing.

The Science Chal­lenge pro­gramme aims to chal­lenge stu­dents in the ba­sic fun­da­men­tals of science and pro­mote in­ter­ac­tive and co­op­er­a­tive learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in science sub­jects.

Many out­stand­ing sec­ondary schools com­peted in var­i­ous sci­en­tific chal­lenges.

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